Sunday, November 04, 2007

Symantec State of the Data Center Report 2007

Last Tuesday Symantec (SYMC) announced the release of their 2007 State of the Data Center Report. The international study surveyed managers of Global 2000 and other large companies. The magazines, web sites and company white papers are constantly full of industry statistics and trend monitoring, but I think this report did a nice job of doing the legwork necessary to get real data from those facing the issues in the data center today and presenting it in a clear and concise manner. I think one sentence in the paper summarizes the main point nicely:

Essentially, data center managers are being asked to deliver more high-quality services in an increasingly complicated environment, yet their budgets are relatively flat. As a result, data center managers find they adopt cost containment strategies that make use of new technologies, including virtualization, and new management approaches, such as those that automate routine processes.

Here are some of the highlights that I gleamed from reading the report:

  • Of the five issues (of factors impacting today's Data Centers) I think #2 and #5 are the big ones (in my mind). #2 is staffing and #5 is Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity Planning. Staffing has been noted several times in the press and is obviously becoming a large issue that managers must deal with.
  • Better preparedness for a disaster now versus two years ago was listed by 53% of the repsondents. When thinking of locations for your DR and BCP plans, don't forget my Site Selection white paper.
  • Not surprising, the always fun statistic proved true once again for a cause of downtime. Twenty-eight percent of respondents listed "change or human error"as a chief reason for downtime. Although some stories have down played ITIL, I think for this reason alone you will see an increased usage of the ITIL guidelines in data centers. This obviously plays into the staffing issues raised as well.
  • The report has good information on virtualization plans. I think it will be interesting to see how Microsoft fits into this market in the near future. I don't believe they will pose a serious threat to VMWare, but will most likely balance out the market a little more and have a decent percentage. VMWare was the top product listed in the U.S. but almost half of Asia-Pacific respondents are using Microsoft virtualization, with only 35% going to VMWare. I haven't finished watching it yet, but here is a video of Eric Traut from Microsoft, presenting on Microsoft's virtualization technologies (it also mentions Windows 7).
  • The outsourcing statistics were interesting. Fourty-two percent of U.S. managers said they utilize outsourcing, while 61% of non-U.S. organizations are. "Among the most common tasks outsourced by both U.S. and non-U.S. organizations are server maintenance, backups, storage management, archiving, and business continuity."
This is, overall, a very good report and worth the read. Check out the press release here